by Ian Morton
Written and directed by Kitty Green, The Assistant is an unapologetically honest look at workplace politics, the oppressive culture of a ruthless boss and the pressures of a poisonous workplace.
A perfect example of art imitating life, the story follows Jane, a personal assistant to a very successful movie mogul. As the day unfolds, we the audience are taken on a journey that peels back the gloss of Hollywood and reveals the sinister underbelly of the business.
As the narrative progresses, the office place becomes a living, breathing monster in a way that so few films manage to get right. As events go from bad to worse, we’re forced to witness how someone deals with unfolding events and the realities of a poisonous workplace. A truly spiderous turn from Matthew Macfadyen as the company HR representative will stick in your memory long after the credits roll.
The true success of the film however lies squarely on the shoulders of lead, Julia Garner. It’s a hauntingly lost performance as she’s pushed harder than her male counterparts and unappreciated for her efforts. The horrors of the day culminate with the girl constantly having to choose between her career and standing against the blatant abuse going on behind closed doors – an impossible choice expertly played out by Garner at every stage.
Easily one of the best films of 2019, The Assistant demands to be watched as it heads to streaming platforms. Impressively well paced given how much it packs into 87 minutes, it’s a beautifully subtle turn from Garner that drives the drama as we awkwardly play ‘fly on the wall’.
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